I’m a firm believer in feeding our bodies real, whole plant foods with as little ingredients as possible, mostly one-ingredient foods.
Simple, whole foods make up the bulk of my diet — one-ingredient foods like fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. I cook most of my meals so I actually know what I’m eating, rather than buying something prepared and chock-full of added sugars, refined flours, and preservatives. Cooking my meals also saves me a ton of money, and being plant-based means I don’t need to buy pricey animal products. Win.
I buy some packaged foods for the sake of convenience, but I make it a point to put quality first. I’ll buy organic if it fits in my budget, and I’ll make sure the ingredients are recognizable and “whole.” For example, I buy Food for Life’s sprouted Ezekiel bread, which is made of just organic sprouted grains and legumes, yeast, and salt. Some other foods I buy pre-made are Larabars, almond milk, canned beans, tomato sauce, and the occasional pack of tortillas or hummus, though I usually make my own. I also love to have tofu and tempeh a couple times a week.
If you just get one thing from this blog, let it be this: READ YOUR LABELS!!!!
I was off meat for awhile, and then a few months later I decided to remove dairy, eggs, and cheese from my diet. I’ve been vegan since the summer of 2015, but I find usually use the term “plant-based.”
I don’t have any reactions to animal products, but many studies show the benefits of a plant-based diet. As an animal lover, meat-eating always seemed contradictory to me. But I really changed the way I looked at animal products after watching Cowspiracy, which focuses on the environmental impacts of animal agriculture. It was jaw-dropping to learn that raising animals for food is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the emissions from all forms of transportation combined. WHAT. That’s not even getting into the issue of the horrid conditions in which these animals are raised, so I encourage you to do your own research. But I think everyone (and the environment!) could benefit from less meat-eating and more yummy-plant-deliciousness.
LOCAL & ORGANIC
I try my very hardest to shop at my local farmer’s markets and buy foods that have not travelled thousands of miles to my grocery store. Even if your locally grown produce isn’t marked “organic,” usually it’s grown using the same standards; small farmers sometimes cannot afford the USDA Organic label. In my case, shopping locally is so much cheaper than shopping at a grocery store. No matter what, it’s important to me to support a local vegetable grower trying to send his daughter to dance class rather than a huge CEO stuffing more money in his pocket. But that’s just me.
I always buy the most common genetically modified foods (corn, soy products, zucchini) organic, since organic foods cannot be genetically altered. I try to buy fruits and veggies known to be heavily sprayed with pesticides (berries, apples) organic. Buying food organic or conventionally grown usually depends on my budget, but sometimes I can save money by buying frozen produce.
Give me all the carbs. NOW. Jk…maybe.
I think it’s important to mention this because when I tell people that I make staying healthy a priority, the first thing they assume is that I don’t eat carbs like pasta or bread. But I LOVE CARBS & I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS!!!!!!
I mean, I’m not walking around all day shoving spaghetti noodles in my mouth (sounds good, though), but I eat a wide variety of whole grains and other healthy sources of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates = energy. We need them. Our brains need them. They are not evil. They’re just another piece of the balanced diet puzzle. Yes, too many carbs will make you gain weight. But guess what? Too much of anything will cause weight gain. It’s all about portion control!
So, yes, carbs can and should be part of a balanced diet. Some of my favorite sources are fruit, brown rice, quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, and 100% whole wheat bread.
This is probably what I struggle with the most. I am a complete perfectionist, and I am very extreme. If I choose to do something, I do it 200% or not at all. I don’t half-ass anything. I love this quality about myself — I have an excellent work ethic and am extremely self-motivated. But it also makes it very hard for me to find balance. If I start a new job, I devote every minute of my time to it so I can be the best employee possible, but I neglect my school work, social life, and personal health. If I like an album, I listen to it on repeat for weeks on end (still listening to 1989 daily, no regrets).
It’s no different when it comes to my diet. I never have conventional treats like fast food meals or glazed donuts (I just don’t care to, not saying you can’t or shouldn’t), but I still struggle with beating myself up about having one treat, even if they’re whole wheat, no-refined-sugar, not-going-to-kill-me vegan cookies. For a long time I was obsessed with eating 100% “clean,” but I think it’s much more important to indulge when you want and balance it out with healthier choices next time. It has taken me a very long time for me to be okay with eating healthy carbs after many no-carb diets and having treats occasionally; I still have my bad days, but the journey never ends!
I eat a wide, abundant variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, but I also like to balance it out with a homemade vegan treat sometimes. ‘Cause TREAT YO’ SELF.
I eat this way not just because it’s good for my health or it keeps me in great shape, but because all these foods taste damn good and I <3 them. Nothing beats fresh food and a home cooked meal. Ask anyone.
So there ya go! If you have any questions or just want to talk, leave a comment or drop by my contact page!
*Just as a disclaimer, this is NOT telling you to eat exactly how I eat. Rather, this is showing you what has worked for me and what I have found to be the healthiest, most sustainable way of eating. My goal with this blog is to encourage you to make healthier choices and do your own research so you can find what works best for you!